Saturday, February 07, 2009

Alex Rodriguez Tested Positive for Steroids

Will sportswriters now finally accept that they can't just try to cut the steroid bad guys out of the game and pretend the steroids era never happened?

As awareness of the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs increased over the past 4-5 years, I noticed mainstream sportswriters making more and more sense when talking about the subject. They started to acknowledge the scope of the problem for the first time; that they were complicit in ignoring it just like Bud Selig and the the rest; that there isn't an easy solution to make the problem go away permanently; etc.

But the one enduring, idiotic trend amongst sportswriters is this idea that you "punish" the evil steroid doers by not voting for them in the Hall of Fame and you only let in the "pure" guys. Of course, the problem is you have no idea who the pure guys were, and under those standards the guys who get in are based more on luck than anything else.

I'd heard as recently as a few days ago Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser talking about keeping Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire out of the Hall of Fame. Well, maybe they'll just add Alex Rodriguez to that list now, and instead put in the likes of Jeff Bagwell and Randy Johnson with the **NAKED ASSUMPTION** that they were actually clean.

My thinking is that baseball writers have to come to grips with the fact that just about everyone was on steroids in the homerun era. That doesn't mean the best players still weren't the best, and why should they be punished for playing by the rules that were handed them by the powerbrokers, fans and journalists of their sport? Compensate for the fact there was more offense by giving more credit to impressive pitching stats than impressive hitting stats and recognize the best. I know some people are going to enjoy villifying A-Rod (and I don't particularly like the guy), but how many names have to come out before people finally accept that it isn't evidence of individual, but rather, institutional corruption?

4 Comments:

Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I've mentioned it here before, but will repeat - I've been a sports reporter/journalist for more than 20 years. I've dabbled in some national news, but mostly dealt with local sports in both Michigan and Alaska.

Today's news that Rodriguez admitted to using bannded substances might very well take this story in an entirely new direction. It should be interesting to watch.

As for Todd's point about sportswriters' need to get a grip, I couldn't agree more. Rodriguez on the juice in 2003 is what it is - he was the best player at the time, and arguably is now. That's it, that's the list - drugs or no drugs.

Much like our beloved Raw and WWE television, we'd probably all be better off if we simply treated MLB, NHL, NFL, etc. like the entertainment outlets they are. I'm doing a better job of doing that as I get older.

- Matt in Anchorage

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Joebeck said...

I think if you acknowledge the idea that steroids were an institutional crime, then putting people like Barry Bonds in the HOF is very plausible and even necessary. If we can assume an even playing field in regards to hitting, then we can take a composite of statistics and determine what was actually great, in comparison. Barry Bonds wasn't simply a power hitter, but a great baseball player who was put on his own level by steroids. Still, he would've been great either way.

For example, what about the dead ball era? Nobody has ever mentioned leaving Christy Matthewson out of the HOF because opponents literally couldn't see the baseball. Even though he wasn't necessarily "cheating," it was still a circumstance that was common to the game then that gives him a statistical advantage over pitchers from different eras. Yet, his statistics were still great, even compared to pitchers of the same era.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Red Sox are REALLY glad A-Roid went to the Yankees now!

12:22 AM  
Blogger Billy said...

Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic growth hormone oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

2:33 PM  

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